Futurist Friday: Virtual Reality & the Museum of the Future

Category: Center for the Future Of Museums Blog

The immersive virtual museum experience (at least the visual dimension) is creeping closer and closer. Your Futurist Friday assignment: this 2 min video by Europeana, using Oculus’ head-mounted display to tour a 3D model of the fictional “EUseum.” 

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As Oculus’ PR  says:

“Imagine being able to visit the Louvre, the Rijksmuseum and the Guggenheim all in one day! Imagine looking at the world’s most famous masterpieces from your favourite chair in your own home. Imagine being able to look around museums and visit heritage sites that you otherwise might never be able to see because you can’t afford it, or aren’t physically able to travel, or just don’t have the time. Then imagine creating your own museum, populating it with your favourite works of art and sharing your creation with others.”

This post on the Europeana Blog riffs on this emerging tech:

Virtual reality will offer great opportunities for the world of museums, galleries and archives. A first step would be to recreate existing museums online so that people from all over the world could visit them from exactly where they are. And then each of us could curate collections and put them in an environment of our choosing: how about looking at some of Rembrandt’s paintings in one of the workshops he worked in? Or what about a museum in which you could change the entire collection with a press of a button? How about stepping into a painting from Monet and being able to walk around the water-lily pond?” 

Virtual reality glasses such as the Oculus Rift are projected to cost only about $300 when they come out later in 2014, which makes them more affordable than, say, Google Glass. On the other hand, @nhoneysett tweeted that using this head set made him queasy, so maybe the technology still needs a little tweaking. Meanwhile, there are always airsickness bags. 

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